Jameer Nelson – another proof that even short guys can succeed in the NBA

Jameer Nelson – another proof that even short guys can succeed in the NBA

The guard who, along with Dwight Howard, brought some of the strongest years to the Orlando Magic

Jameer Nelson is an American professional basketball player who managed to make an impression in the National Basketball Association, despite not being among the top players who competed there. Nelson was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, and while still at a local high school, he managed to make an impression and help his team win the state trophy. He immediately began his college career at Saint Joseph's University, where he was named the All-State Rookie of the Year in his freshman year.

Only 183 centimeters tall, which is a normal height, but not for a basketball player, Nelson plays the position of point guard. In 2003, he was part of the NBA draft, but decided to stay for the last year with the "Hawks" from "St. Joseph", with whom he managed to achieve 30 successes from 32 meetings in the regular season, which is an absolute record for the team.

In 2004, Jameer was drafted 20th overall by the Denver Nuggets, but was immediately traded to the Orlando Magic for the team's first overall pick out of the state of Florida in 2005. Together with him, Orlando acquired Dwight Howard, who was the team's first choice in the year in question. In his first year in the NBA, however, Nelson is mostly an option for when the team's star guard Steve Francis needs to rest. Despite the few minutes, however, the short basketball player managed to make a serious impression and get into the second team of debutants.

In his second NBA campaign, Nelson got the opportunity to be the first choice at the point guard position after Steve Francis was sent to the New York Knicks at the end of February 2006. This helped the Pennsylvania basketball player finish the season with averages of 14.6 points and 5 assists per game, as well as 48.3% shooting from the field. Magic's move paid off the following season, in which the undersized player was one of the reasons the team reached the playoffs for the first time since 2003, where they fell to the Detroit Pistons in the first round.

Jameer Nelson's progress continued and peaked in the 2008/09 season when he was named to the All-Star game along with teammates Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis. However, he misses that match and the rest of the season as he suffers a serious injury to his right shoulder. However, his season averages are the best he's reached so far - 16.7 points and 5.4 assists. After a 4-month recovery that was far faster than expected, Nelson is back just in time for the NBA Finals, where the Magic face the Los Angeles Lakers. However, his presence was far from expected and Orlando lost 1-4 in the series.

As happy as 2009 started for Jameer, the turnaround was extremely large after he suffered a meniscus injury in his left knee and underwent surgery on November 16th, which kept him out of action for over a month. Despite this injury, Nelson helped lead the team to the playoffs, where he averaged 19 points and nearly 5 assists per game in 14 games before falling to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals 2- 4.

Among Orlando's most memorable moments over the years are a buzzer-beating 3-pointer against the Denver Nuggets on March 18, 2011, and another accurate long-range shot later that year that went uncalled and the Magic lost to Chicago Bulls with 99:102.

Although Nelson has been very close friends with Dwight Howard since the beginning of his NBA career, the two disagreed about the trade of Rashard Lewis to Washington that Howard was pushing for. In addition, the center publicly stated that he wanted to play with a star point guard such as Deron Williams or Chris Paul, which also led to him being sent to the Lakers after the end of the 11/12 season.

In February 2014, Nelson scored his 8,020th franchise point, passing Shaquille O'Neal as the fourth-leading scorer in Magic history.

However, this turned out to be his last year in Orlando, after he signed a two-year contract with the Dallas Mavericks in the summer, where he played only 23 games before being sent to the Boston Celtics. After only six games for the Celtics, in which he disappointed, a new trade followed and in January 2015 he became part of the franchise that selected him in the draft - the Denver Nuggets, where he stayed until October 2017. It was the 17/18 season that was the last for him, in which he played first for the New Orleans Pelicans and then for the Detroit Pistons, but it seems that his good years are long gone.

Jameer Nelson is definitely proof that even shorter basketball players can have a great career in the NBA. The point guard was one of the big stars of the Orlando Magic in the years between 2004 and 2014, in which the franchise from the state of Florida achieved serious success. For his entire career in the association, he scored 9,940 points, made 4,508 assists and managed to control 2,595 rebounds. If he hadn't played for a team other than the Magic, maybe his averages would have been extremely impressive as well. Yet his name remains in the history of Orlando of the present century.